Wednesday, October 21, 2009

panko breadcrumbs

One of the comments I recently received (comment, comment, comment, please! I thrive off the stuff) was regarding a chicken parmesan recipe. And while chicken parm is not something I've ever made, nor typically crave, it got me to thinking. My brain started whirling about ways to produce the best possible result. And just like that, panko breadcrumbs immediately popped into my head. "Panko!" I excitedly exclaimed in my head. "I have to tell them about Panko!" Clearly, you don't want to be inside my head.

Or do you?

Panko is a Japanese breadcrumb that is sold at almost every grocery store these days. They're an extremely light and crispy product (whose appearance is somewhat reminiscent of crushed rice krispies) and yield unbelievably fantastic breading results when compared to the run-of-the-mill kind of breadcrumbs. I keep a tupperwear of them in the freezer (tip: keeps them from spoiling) for my one and only breaded treat: warm goat cheese salad, where I slip a piece of a goat cheese bouchon in egg white, then roll it around in panko, and into a hot pan until the cheese begins to ooze. Simple, indulgent pleasure.

But back to chicken parm. I would buy some fresh, thin chicken cutlets and set up a breading station: one dish with flour (salt and pepper too), an egg wash (2 eggs, splash of milk, salt, pepper), and one with panko and some fresh parmesan (chopped parsley would be a fab addition). Coat the chicken cutlet in a little of the flour mixture, then into the egg wash, and then into the panko mixture, making sure to fully coat the breast. Repeat this process with as many chicken cutlets as you're making.

Heat a large pan over medium-high heat and add in a little olive oil. Gently saute the breaded cutlets until they're a deep golden brown color on both sides. Place them on a plate and into a low oven (200F or so) to keep warm.

Either use your favorite jarred stuff (I hear Mario Batali's new line of sauce is bellissima albeit pricey) or whip up some fresh tomato sauce (sauce pot on medium heat, add in olive oil, a few red pepper flakes, a can of crushed san marzano tomatoes, and as much or as little grated garlic as your heart desires. let it come to a gentle boil, toss in a dash of sugar, some salt, and tons of torn basil. reduce to low. taste for seasoning. done.)

Remove chicken from oven. Preheat the oven to 450F. Take a baking dish and ladle some of the sauce into the bottom and place chicken cutlets on top. Add a bit of sauce to the top of each as well and top, generously, with some slices of fresh mozzarella. Throw them into the oven until the cheese completely melts (keep an eye, it'll happen in less than 10 minutes). Serve with some al dente spaghetti or just with a side salad and have at it.

But of course, if you don't want to take my word for it (as I admittedly have never made this, but think I pulled the above off pretty well) I fully trust my boy, Tyler Florence. So take a look at his recipe and swap out the regular breadcrumbs for Panko. I think you'll be absolutely tickled with the results.
See what happens when you comment?!
Have the loveliest of lovely Wednesday's.

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